Amazon, and online retail in general, has enjoyed a sales boom in Italy since the pandemic began. Photo: AFP
“This Christmas, buy from the shops in your neighbourhood,” urged Italian retail organisation Confesercenti and consumer watchdog Codacons on Wednesday, backing a campaign against Amazon which began in France this week.
READ ALSO: Less shopping, more 'spiritual reflection': What will Christmas be like in Italy this year?
The French 'Noël sans Amazon' (Christmas without Amazon) petition, backed by poltiicians, green groups and trade unions in the country, soon caught the attention of the Italian public, with the hashtag #natalesenzamazon appearing on Italian social media on Wednesday.
In Italy, Confesercenti warned of the “excessive power” of the online giant, which has enjoyed a surge in popularity in Italy since the pandemic began.
“This second wave is creating a very serious imbalance of competition between real shops and the web: while the former are closed by the government, the online sales channel operates under monopoly conditions,” the association said in a statement to Italian media, adding that it is asking the government to take action.
“This is a very serious problem for shops, especially as we head towards Christmas”.
Codacons warned of “enormous damage to the traditional retail trade, with clear damage to competition,” claiming that online sales would take some four billion euros' in revenue from Italy's physical stores between now and Christmas.
Meanwhile, Italian statistics agency Istat reported on Wednesday that some 191,000 retail jobs had been lost in Italy in the second quarter of this year.
It said there had been some recovery since then, though this was “probably interrupted” when new restrictions were announced in October.
Non-essential shops in high-risk red zone regions are closed and shopping centres across the country are shut at weekends.
Italy's current restrictions remain in place until at least December 3rd.
Ministers have said they hope shops could be allowed to reopen across the country nearer to Christmas, but stressed that this depends on the health situation improving.